Monday, May 17, 2010

"oregon dunes" recreation area

This (avg. 2 mph hiking) long day hike includes finishing with 3 miles of coastal Hwy. 101 southbound, barring a shuttle. Be careful on the narrow shoulder please.
The (11 1/2 to 14 mi., depending on options) hike begins at Tahkenitch Campground. A U.S. Forest Service $5/day fee is collected at the trail head, located north of Reedsport, Or. between mile markers 203 and 204. The entrance is on the west side of 101.
Take a left fork about 1/4 mile down the trail. The first 3 1/4 miles bears mostly SW to the ocean. It will keep you aerobically fit, with a 400 ft. summit included in the ancient hard-packed sand dunes and second growth forest, followed by loose sand
grind to the sea. My time to the beach, with a look over taken at Threemile Lake was about 1 1/4 hrs. Beside Threemile, there is a nice view of Elbow Lake through Rhododendrons and a shore pine forest. And of course dunes.
Walk north on the beach 1.3 mi. (1/2 hr. including agates) and look for a very steep signed access to the foredunes east. The last time I was there, the trail was shortly washed out by erosion. Just scramble through as close to the edge as safely possible northward bound, and the trail will reappear at a huge stick and garbage pile.
When you pick the trail back up it heads inland somewhat with a NE bent for 2 1/2 miles after topping the foredune. There are four map illustrated signposts in this section. Left, right, right, left at the posts.
Five minutes after the 4th post (left) access the creek and wade across. !!!!Tahkenitch Creek may be deep in spring. If you do not want to cross, go back to the sign (5 min.) and go left to Tahkenitch Creek trail parking. Southbound on 101 will be about an 8 1/2 mi. loop.!!!!
Anyway, after wading, climb the huge dune on the other side. Look northwest toward a dead tree, if it hasn't fallen. The trail markers are tall posts and easy to spot. On the marked trail one can travel through the dunes north or to the ocean west. The ocean trail (.7 west to ocean, 1.7 north along the beach to foredune trail marker, then 1.1 east to the Oregon Dunes Overlook) is longer than the dunes option (1.3 mi. trudge to the overlook). From this parking area it is a 3 mile southward walk on scenic Hwy. 101 to your vehicle.
In the summer winds area generally from the north, winter from the south. So go in reverse if you are some wimp.
Do not cross the cold winter creek without protection.
Wm. Sullivan's ISBN 978-09677830-2X is a help, although he breaks my suggestion into three hikes.

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